Village growth hit by Eurocrats

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A EUROPEAN ruling to protect wildlife is blocking development in Weeting and hampering the chance of 200 people on the housing waiting list of getting a home of their own as well hitting local businesses and farms.

Such is the concern for the future of the area that South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss has been lobbied to get action.

Last week DEFRA Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries Richard Benyon met the MP, Chris Kennard from Shadwell Estate, Robert Childerhouse from Weeting and local farmers to discuss the European Habitats Directive and the impact it is having on businesses and farms.

Parish councils have also become increasingly concerned by the interpretation of the Habitats Directive within each authority and whether or not it was in fact protecting local wildlife.

A particular issue is the 1,500-metre buffer zone which runs round the perimeter of the 30,000-acre Shadwell estate, a scientific interest site.

This incorporates communities which as a result of the buffer zone have been unable to develop or encourage enterprise.

Minister, Richard Benyon, said directives needed to be more credible and site-specific rather than a one-size-fits-all.

Ms Truss said: “I want to see a common sense approach which helps farmers and businesses to protect wildlife and rewards them for doing the right thing.”

Mr Childerhouse said: “The “buffer zone” engulfs Weeting, which means it is now sterilised in so far as future growth is concerned. For the 200 people on the council’s housing list this is not good news”.